SWISS unhappy with summer season after nearly half of flights depart late

SWISS unhappy with summer season after nearly half of flights depart late

Switzerland’s flag-carrier airline, SWISS, has reported a “mixed” summer season in 2023; flight operations remained stable but services were delayed too often, according to the airline’s head of operations Oliver Buchhofer. Even though almost all scheduled flights were carried out and only a small number were cancelled, almost 50 percent of all flights this summer were delayed.

Airline planned ahead to avoid staff shortages 

The airline, which is part of the German-led Lufthansa Group, had attempted to prevent any cancellations and travel disruption by rostering more reserve crews and even providing reserve aircraft. This meant that the stability of flight operations was very high and only a few flights needed to be cancelled. 

To put this into numbers, SWISS said it had been able to operate 98,9 percent of all scheduled flights during the summer holidays, according to Swissinfo. Following staff shortages at many Swiss airports during and immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic, SWISS had to cut its flight schedule last summer, but through planning staff buffers and providing replacement workers, operations at the airline remained relatively stable this year. 

Almost 50 percent of SWISS flights departed late this summer

Despite the careful planning, the company was still not happy with the number of delayed flights this season. According to Swissinfo, the airline operated 12.870 flights between July 15 and August 15, 2023. Of these, 48 percent departed late, defined by SWISS as taking off 15 minutes late or more. 

As for arriving flights, the situation is a little better, but the firm still says it has work to do. 25 percent of all arriving flights were delayed - landing more than 30 minutes after the scheduled arrival time. “We did not live up to our standards here,” the head of operations stated.

Image: / Lukas Wunderlich

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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